Organs and Architecture

On 19 and 20 May David Warr led two separate groups of members on a tour of three churches. In each we had organ demonstrations by Dr Charles Mould but we were particularly privileged to start our tours with Charles’s demonstration of the mighty Father Willis organ in the Library in Blenheim Palace, the largest organ in a private house in this country. This also gave us the added pleasure of being allowed into Blenheim and walking quietly across the Great Court before the first wave of tourists was admitted. Then full of organ lore we moved to the lovely church of St Michael and All Angels at Great Tew. We were welcomed by the Vicar, the Revd Ginny Thomas and her husband who gave us a brief history of a parish which goes back to Saxon times. There was much to admire including a magnificent memorial to Mary Anne Boulton by Chantrey. Charles demonstrated the newly reconditioned organ, before we moved on to a splendid pub lunch. Afterwards it was back into the cars and on to St Nicholas at Heythrop. This was a church built all of a piece in fourteenth century style by Arthur Blomfield at the expense of Albert Brassey, one of the great Victorian industrialists. This replaced a little Norman church of which the chancel survives on the far side of the churchyard. Here too we were given an organ demonstration by Charles, and in all three churches David gave us the fascinating architectural inside story. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and informative day.  Many thanks to all concerned.